Monday, September 29, 2014

My favorite things from THS

For the weekend, I have been at the Tennessee Herpetological Society conference in Nashville, and as with JMIH, I am doing a blog post of my favorite things. Now, unlike JMIH, THS was a much smaller conference meaning that unlike JMIH, I didn't choose a schedule but instead went to all sessions on all days. In my opinion, Day 1 was depressing in some ways due to many sessions surrounding ranavirus and how animals are dying. However, also on Day 1, there was a rather positive session surrounding success of hellbender breeding at the Nashville Zoo. One of the things I discovered that day was that there are two of many things I cannot draw that were mentioned:owls and hellbender sperm. That was my main favorite session that day, as even though things such as ranavirus being carried in water snakes with 100% mortality is another area of herpetology, I do prefer more positive sessions surrounding living animals. Also, viruses are hard to draw. If you see any doodle I ever do of any kind of microorganism, it's going to look like a paramecium. Paramecia are easy to draw. For some reason, the microorganism doodles sometimes have faces.

On Day 2, my favorite thing on that day actually did not involve the sessions. I was panicked due to forgetting my name tag, but luckily I could get in for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Nashville Zoo to see things such as the hellbender project, and another thing I discovered:The Nashville Zoo has a thriving population of dart frogs they use to get other animals, which means in the behind-the-scenes tour, there were so many adorable poison dart froglets! Another thing from the behind-the-scenes was watching the staff at the zoo feed the false chameleons with their snails. It actually took fairly long before they ate, though. Also on Day 2 was one fairly interesting session on museums and collections as well as preserving dead specimens. It was rather interesting to find out how they preserved specimens, even though I must admit that I did a lot of doodles of Hissi skeletons when trying to figure out how the wings would look and whatnot. Also on Day 2 was a live creature at the conference rather than at the zoo. It was what might have been a new variety of crayfish.

And on Day 3 was one of the best experiences of all:the herping trip. Northern Water Snakes, Black Racers, Eastern Milk Snakes, Northern Cricket Frogs, Long-Tailed salamanders, Dusky Salamanders, Two-Lined Salamanders, and Southern Newts were all found during the trip. Both Black Racers and Northern Water Snakes, as well as the Eastern Milk Snake, I held. I actually got bitten by the second Black Racer, and my parents were both bitten by Northern Water Snakes. Interestingly enough, my dad was bitten by a tiny baby water snake, and his was the only one that actually drew blood. But the Northern Water Snakes were known for biting a lot. They were very young. They were wild snakes. And they were incredibly calm! I actually managed to hold one particular water snake for a rather long time. And the Eastern Milk Snake you could have kept as a family pet, it was so nice! But also under the coverboard the Eastern Milk Snake was found near was the skeleton of a Black Racer. I have part of it, some vertebrae with some of the skin still attached. Also found in the park was the skeleton of a cat, perhaps a stray. And for more excitement:The Eastern Milk Snake and Northern Cricket Frog were new species in the park! So hopefully they will be fruitful and multiply. And on the night of Day 1, there was something for which there was a reason I'm saving it until the end. There was a live auction. I had a 20-dollar budget. I spent about 60 dollars. But they all went towards a good cause. There were many turtle items, and also a pot of sorts with a snake in a hat, which happened to have some little frogs inside. But where most of the money was spent was with a photo of a corn snake known as Isis. The photo was taken by Lisa Powers and the snake had exactly the same colors as my corn snake, Wadjet. And two highly red, Egyptian mythology-named corn snakes? They have to be together. But at the same time, the items we donated, a set of four My Little Pythons and some homemade reptile and amphibian jewelery, fetched 65 dollars for the scholarship fund. And this was exciting enough that there was a reason I saved the best for last.

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